In the past few years, there have been a solid mix of well-written comedies and the cliche and lazy comedies. Director Malcom D. Lee delivered us Girls Trip in 2017, a refreshing and genuinely funny film. When we found out he was directing a comedy with Kevin Hart in the lead role, it was difficult not to be excited. Could he go back to back years with smash hit comedies? As awesome as that would have been, unfortunately Night School falls short (not a diss on Kevin Hart….or is it?) and isn’t anywhere near the level of Girls trip.
A group of troublemakers are forced to attend night school in hope that they’ll pass the GED exam to finish high school.
Tiffany Haddish plays the teacher Carrie, and she honestly has some of the funniest dialogue in the movie. She has a good role of a teacher that knows she’s underpaid and under-appreciated, but she truly cares about all of her students. It was nice to see a teacher like that, even if it is in a funny movie. Kevin Hart pretty much plays himself throughout the entire movie. Sure, he has some funny scenes, but he almost plays the same role in every movie he’s in. Not to mention in Night School, his character runs out of steam somewhere near the end of the second act. The supporting act also have some of the funniest scenes in the movie as well. Rob Riggle, Romany Malco, Mary Lynn Rajskub and Anne Winters make up the other classmates and they provide some good secondary comedic relief. Romany Malco probably has the best dialogue, playing a hipster/paranoid guy who doesn’t want robots to take over the world. If the script had been written better, all of this talent could have been properly used to elevate this movie to an above average comedy.
The script is probably the biggest problem in Night School. With movies like Game Night, Blockers, and Tag to come out in 2018, the audience knows by now that a well-written comedy can definitely be brought to the big screen. Night School is just overall lazy. Nothing about the script challenges the audience. It is just one raunchy joke after another combined with cheesy life lessons learned by the obviously flawed characters. With 6 writing credits on the screenplay, it really isn’t that surprising that Night School is a let down. Having that many people with their fingers in the pie usually isn’t a good thing.
This is very surprising to say with a comedy, but Night School is way too long. Clocking in at 1 hour and 53 minutes, the second act especially drags on and on. There is a part in the third act where Kevin Hart is trying to obtain something, and he keeps failing over and over. There is this entire montage and then after like 7 minutes of this on screen, he obtains this item. And that’s it. It made NO sense to do it like that. The movie easily could have been 1 hour and 35 minutes, and that’s what it should have been. I don’t know who let it get to almost 2 hours, but that’s just unacceptable. There are some glaring editing mistakes as well that make it feel like you’re watching the rough cut of the film. There is even a line of dialogue where a character says a sentence and obviously says one word, but another one is edited in the sound. It looked so bad. Come on Hollywood, you’re better than that…
Overall, Night School is a very forgettable movie. There are some funny moments and truly laugh out loud scenes, but the script is just way too lazy for me to even call it a guilty pleasure. This is one of those movies that you should definitely wait to watch it on Netflix or On Demand. Also, the amount of Kevin Hart short jokes in this one is TOO DAMN HIGH!